Profiles of Schools/Colleges Offering Animation, Design, Gaming, and Media Related Programs

Our 2017 list of the Top 50 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (top 1% of schools considered) 

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, the school is home to 1,449 students enrolled in more than 70 programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, and the School of Theater. The School of Film/Video is the largest school at CalArts, accounting for nearly 30% of the student population. Programs offered include a BFA in Character Animation and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.

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 Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. 1. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California (top 5% of schools considered)

Established in 1961, California Institute of the Arts is home to 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels. The nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. Around 26.9 percent of the schools population is enrolled in the School of Film/Video. The School offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Public Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California

Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to 43,239 students enrolled in more than 220 programs across five schools and 109 academic departments. UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television is home to the Animation Workshop.

Founded in 1948 by Disney Animator William Shull, the Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program that accepts just 12 new students each year. Before applying to the program, students typically earn a BA in Film and Television. The BA program gives future MFA students the opportunity to study all facets of Digital Media, Film, and Television, as well as a full year of Animation studies, followed by an internship. 

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


11. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California

Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, CalArts is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Home to 1,489 students, with 26.9 percent enrolled in the School of Film/Video, CalArts offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and a BFA and MFA in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2014 list of the Top 75 Game Design/Development School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
The University of Southern California (USC) is home to USC Games. Created by the School of Cinematic Arts’ (SCA) Interactive Media & Games Division in collaboration with the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, USC Games offers several renowned graduate level game design programs and several undergraduate programs. Options include an MFA in Interactive Media, an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Game Development, a BA in Interactive Entertainment, and a BS in Computer Science (Games).

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Our 2017 rankings of the top animation programs in the Midwest. We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 2% of schools considered) 

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. Founded in 1866, the school is home to 3,590 students enrolled in more than 25 programs, offers several programs for aspiring animators through its Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Department (FVNMA). Options include a BFA and MFA in Studio with a Concentration Animation. A Certificate in Studio is also available.   

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Our 2017 list of the Top 50 Public Animation School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (top 1% of schools considered) 

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to nearly 45,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the school offers 125+ undergraduate majors across 109 academic departments, and more than 40 graduate programs including the Animation Workshop of the School of Theater, Film and Television. 

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Our 2017 list of the Top 50 Private Animation School Programs in the US.

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (top 1% of schools considered) 

Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Home to 1,449 students, CalArts offers more than 70 programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, and the School of Theater. The School of Film/Video is the largest school at CalArts, accounting for nearly 30% of the student population. Programs offered through the school include a BFA in Character Animation and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2016 rankings of the top graphic design schools in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


1. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Top 1% of schools considered)

Cranbrook Academy began “informal art education” in the late 1920s. The Academy consists of 10 programs/departments including 2D Design, 3D Design, Architecture, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Print Media, Photography and Sculpture. Per the Academy, “each department is led by a full-time Artist or Designer-in-Residence who is the sole faculty member and head of the department. Each department has an enrollment of approximately 15 students, who are selected by the Artist-in-Residence.” Programs are “free of the formal course structure typical of most art schools and universities. Instead the studio environment is the core of the curriculum with emphasis on developing an individual body of work.” 

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Our 2016 list of the Top 25 Public Graphic Design School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1.  North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh North, Carolina (Top 1% of schools considered)

North Carolina State University at Raleigh (NC State Raleigh) is “the school of 100+ startups and spinoffs.” Founded in 1887 and home to more than 34,000 students, the school offers 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through 65 departments and 12 colleges. The College of Design is home to the Graphic Design program which offers two degree paths—a Bachelor of Graphic Design and a Master of Graphic Design.  The College has recently established a PhD in Design/Information Design Concentration as well. The undergraduate and graduate degrees are NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accredited and the PhD program is set to receive NASAD approval after graduating its first class. 

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